Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pugging Clay

So this weekend has been a pottery weekend. I got a call earlier this week asking me if I wanted to donate a Piggy Bank to the St. Anthony's Catholic Church silent auction next month. With a vacation planned next week, I figured I'd better get to things before time ran out on me.

Before I could start making Piggy Banks, I had a ton of used clay that needed to be recycled into clay I can use again. Not very many potters I've met do this, but it's the most cost effective thing for the starving potter to do on a low budget, so I've made it a point to recycle my clay.

It really just involves putting all of the nasty slip and goo and chunks of unused clay into a bucket, draining off the water, letting it dry out a bit and either spending all year wedging it all up by hand so it's the same consistency, or spending a few hours sending it though a Pugger. Because Blaine is awesome, I chose the latter, and he let me use the Clay Pugger he has in his Lab.

A pugger is basically a giant enclosed auger type mixer.

You throw all your clay into the mixing drum and let it mix for a while,

Push the door closed (this takes a certain finesse when you're a product of the weaker breed),

push the extrude button,

and then it squeezes the fresh clay out into logs of clay, ready for use.

Not the most visually alluring process by any means, but it gets the job done at any rate.

The only bad thing about using recycled clay, is that you never really know what surprises will find their way into your clay. Especially when pugging Blaine's student's clay. This is a mild version of what is most often found. It's someone's old nasty sponge they lost to the bucket. Usually these sponges are black and crawling with bacteria, but this one wasn't so bad.

I have all sorts of stories about things found in pugged clay... Sponges, Band-Aids, glass, chunks of wood, pottery tools, the occasional piece of jewelry. Blaine said a lady lost her wedding ring in the used clay buckets one year and never found it. I'm sure somewhere there's a $2000 wedding ring permanently stuck inside a 1" thick pot some beginner student is using to hold their loose change.

So, that's how to pug clay. I'll keep updated on any work I'll be doing here in the next few days :)

Until next time,


Busy Bee Me

Ok, so first off, I've been a Blogging Underachiever I know... With moving and everything else going on this year, I've been neglecting my pottery life.

Secondly, I just wanted to mention how AWESOME my sister is for designing my adorable Bumble Bee layout. Jeri, you rock, and I love you :)

Nextly, you'll be excited to know I've been happily distracted lately in the potter's department.........

Such as, New Purchases!!

I found this wheel on KSL practically brand new for only $250.00! What a steal!! The guy must have been desperate to sell it, because this wheel is fantastic!!
Another steal of a deal I found on KSL was this little beauty-- My new kiln :)

It's an older model, and it's only about 2 cubic feet on the inside, but it's enough to get me started with my very own lab...

Since moving in to a tiny apartment, it seems like I have no room at all for any of my pottery stuff. My storage unit is currently housing my wedging table, kiln, shelves, and clay, while the rest of my supplies seem to be slowly taking over Mom and Dad's house... I've also found myself making new additions to Dad's garage.....

A new shelf was just the thing to get my chemicals and tools up off the floor and out of the way.

Hopefully very soon, I'll be getting a shed of my very own to put all of my stuff in, and be able to start throwing some new pottery to get listed.

Until next time,